Calico Baked Beans

To me, a happy meal isn’t the kind you buy at the fast food joint; it’s the “make-do” kind that comes together rather effortlessly when you’re at the cottage, with a cupboard-ful of odds and ends, and the grocery store miles away. This excellent rendition of baked beans came about one day at a cabin on Lake Michigan. My sister and I were dreaming up a dish for dinner to complement the walleye pike her sweetie had recently caught. She had brought the fixings for baked beans—a recipe she had gotten from a friend and played with over the years—and I had some smoky beef jerky to add to the mix.

You can serve this stew-like dish as a main course with some sturdy whole grain bread and Organic Valley Pasture Butter, or as a side dish with Organic Prairie Tenderloin Steak Tips and steamed rice - or pan-fried fish, of course.


  • 4 ounce (2 packages) Organic Prairie Smoky Chipotle Beef Jerky
  • 28 ounce (1 large can) bold-flavored baked beans
  • 15 ounce (1 can) kidney beans
  • 15.5 ounce (1 can) butter beans
  • 15.5 ounce (1 can) baby green lima beans
  • 2 cup tomato puree
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried mustard
  • 1 medium-large sweet onion, finely chopped


1. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Use a small, sharp knife to cut jerky into thin strips. Combine with remaining ingredients in a Dutch oven.

2. Bake uncovered 2–3 hours, stirring occasionally (if you’re not out kayaking, that is). If you want to thicken the sauce, turn up the heat to 350 degrees during the last hour or so.

Copyright by Terese Allen